Become a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident - Prepare your Green Card Application Today!
What is a U.S. Green Card and what are the benefits of having one?
A Green Card is officially known as a permanent resident card. In order to receive a Green Card, a foreign born national has to file a Green Card Application. If the Green Card Application is approved, the foreign born national will become a U.S. lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder). A Green Card is considered official proof of a person’s legal status to live in the United States. Besides being a legal requirement, a Green Card has several benefits:
• If you travel out of the country, a Green Card will allow you re-entry into the U.S.
• If you have a Green Card you can sponsor your spouse and family.
• A Green Card gives permanent residents the right to attend college, apply for financial aid, and even obtain savings on tuition.
• With a Green Card you will be eligible to work in the United States or start your own business.
• Green Card holders can apply for financial benefits, including social security.
What are the most common ways of obtaining a Green Card?
There are several ways of obtaining a Green Card. The Green Card process depends on the applicant’s category and country where the Green Card Application will be filed. Below are some of the most common routes:
• Green Card by Marriage – You can file a Green Card Application based on marriage. If you are married to a U.S. citizen or a U.S. lawful permanent resident, your spouse can petition for a Green Card. Spouses of U.S. citizens fall into a special immigration category which allows them to receive their Green Cards faster than spouses of U.S. lawful permanent residents.
• Green Card through Relatives – If you are a relative of a U.S. citizen or a U.S. lawful permanent resident, you can file a Green Card Application based on your relationship to your U.S. family member. If you are a U.S. citizen’s child under the age of 21 or a parent of a U.S. citizen, you also fall into the priority category like spouses of U.S. citizens and can get a Green Card right away. If you are a family member that does not fit those requirements, i.e. a U.S. citizen’s brother, sister or child over 21 or a family member of a U.S. lawful permanent resident, you will still be able to obtain a Green Card but will have to wait longer.
• Green Card for Victims – The U.S. government provides immigration relief for victims of domestic violence and victims of certain criminal activities which occurred in the United States. You can file your Green Card Application if you are a victim of domestic violence or a victim of other criminal activities and obtain a Green Card based on your status as a victim.
• Green Card through Employment – Some immigrants are able to file their Green Card Application and get a Green Card through an employer. If you have a permanent job offer your employer may be able to petition for you. People who have previously worked in certain areas can self-petition. This includes Afghan/Iraqi translators and religious workers, among others.
What is the Green Card Application process?
How you get a Green Card depends on several factors. The first thing to keep in mind is that you must meet the eligibility requirements in order to file your Green Card Application. Immediate family members are given priority status and, since Congress limits the number of Immigrant Visas granted each year, everyone else is put on a waiting list. Most people can get a Green Card through family, spouses, or an employer. Others may be granted asylum status and still others may meet special program requirements.
If you are eligible, you then have to prove to immigration officials that you are admissible to the United States in order to have your Green Card Application approved. What would make a person inadmissible? Criminal records, health-related issues, and security concerns are some of the things that may cause concern about granting an Immigrant Visa or Green Card.
There are different forms for filing petitions and Green Card Applications depending on how you intend to enter the U.S. and whether you’re applying for a Green Card from inside or outside of the country. On our website you will find information about the Green Card process and helpful guides for future U.S. permanent residents and U.S. citizens. In general, the basic process of obtaining a Green Card includes: filing the proper immigration forms and documentation with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), passing the interview, medical examination and security checks. After that, the USCIS will make a decision regarding your admissibility to the United States.
Applying for a Green Card in the U.S. – Adjustment of Status Application
Green Card applicants who are applying for a Green Card in the United States have to go through the Adjustment of Status process. Adjustment of Status is the process of changing your nonimmigrant status to a permanent resident status. To learn about different ways of changing your status to a U.S. lawful permanent resident and the process of obtaining a Green Card in the United States, download the Step-By-Step Guide, called “Applying for a Green Card in the U.S.” This guide contains all the information necessary to obtain a Green Card, eligibility requirements, a checklist of all the required documentation, Green Card procedures and interview, all immigration forms, sample completed forms, etc. The following categories of applicants can apply for a Green Card in the United States:
• Victims of certain criminal activities (applicants in U Nonimmigrant status)
• Victims of trafficking (applicants in T nonimmigrant status)
• Family-based Green Card applicants
• Employment-based Green Card applicants
• Special Immigrants
• Green Card Diversity Lottery winners
• Political Asylees
• Green Card applicants who qualify under Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
• Widow(er)s of U.S. citizens
• Victims of Domestic Violence (applicants who qualify under VAWA)